Gamesmanship from Sharapova? Cibulkova wonders after win

by: Matt Cronin January 19, 2014

AP Photo

Dominika Cibulkova says she was bothered by Maria Sharapova catching her ball tosses during service games in her three-set win over the Russian in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Cibulkova contended that Sharapova was trying to break her rhythm.

“During the serve she was playing with the toss and all these things to make me wait for the serve a lot,” Cibulkova said. “I think she was trying to do a lot with the rhythm and to not let me go in my rhythm. When the match was coming to the end, I was getting like a little bit angry about that, I was keep talking myself, like, ‘Why she doing that?’ I thought it was on the purpose.

"But it was just maybe few seconds I let my thinking go away. But that's what I was also working on during my preseason, to let me stay focused and not to let me thoughts go away.”

Cibulkova says she was unsure if Sharapova was engaging in gamesmanship. Sharapova frequently catches her ball toss if it’s errant.

“I don't know,” Cibulkova said. “There are many ways that you can beat a player. She knew that I am playing well. I was playing well through the whole tournament. She knew it for sure. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she was just really feeling nervous on the serve and not doing the toss thing on the purpose. But I think it was something about tactic.”

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